France is to continue with its plan to ban glyphosate, despite sales of the weedkiller growing 10% in 2018, a fact which may put pressure on the country’s aim to ban the controversial herbicide in a majority of agricultural practices by the end of 2020 and to halve the use of pesticides by 2025. The plan is also at odds with the EU, which extended its authorisation on the use of glyphosate project to 2022.
“The commitments made by the President will be kept […] glyphosate will be banned for most uses by the end of 2020,” Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume told a National Assembly hearing on 9 January.
The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) is banning more than half of the nation’s glyphosate-containing herbicide products. Of the 69 products currently available in France, 36 will be withdrawn from the market immediately and their use forbidden by the end of 2020, ‘due to a lack or absence of scientific data ruling out any genotoxic risk’. These products account for nearly 75% by weight of glyphosate-based products sold in France last year for agricultural and other uses.
But critics question the validity of the plans. For one, Dr Bob Reiter, Head of Research & Development at Bayer, has said no alternative to glyphosate is going to 'magically' appear in the market in the next five years.